FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) A North Texas man on trial for theft and burglary after he tried to claim squatters' rights on a house using an obscure law says he wasn't trying to break the law.

David Cooper is charged with first-degree felony theft and burglary. Cooper's wife, Jasmine, is charged with burglary of a habitation.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Cooper told jurors he was relying on a law allowing what's known as "adverse possession." Cooper said he studied adverse possession at a law library and filed a claim for $16 on a $400,000 Arlington home.

He was arrested last November. The family that owned the home was away because one member was being treated for cancer.

Area county clerks say the law is being misused and have stopped accepting claims.